Keeping circles safe and strong

Any group of adolescents needs support in forming a Circle. This is true of adolescents who have newly arrived in a community or just joined a programme, and are meeting each other for the first time. It may also be true of a group of adolescents who have been participating in activities together for some time, but have not yet had a chance to get to know each other, build trust, or feel connected to each other as a team.

The Planning Activity Phases section of the Facilitators’ Guidance outlines steps that you can take and activities that you can use to work with adolescents to forming a strong, supportive Circle according to a pace that works for them.

Setting group rules

One valuable step you should take is helping a new Adolescent Circle to agree to and use group rules for how they will participate in their circles and work together. Adolescents coming together as a Circle should have a chance to discuss and agree to their rules during one of their first sessions together. Giving adolescents the chance to set their own rules helps them to feel ownership of their Circle, and to feel secure as they start their work together.

Learn more about setting and reviewing group rules to keep your Adolescent Circles safe and strong as they learn and take on challenges together.

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Supporting adolescent circles

Facilitators always play a key role in shaping strong Circles. They help adolescents feel safe in their Circles, so that Circles become a space where adolescents recover from difficult experiences, take a break from stress, and feel welcome and valued by others. A strong Circle is a place where adolescents can express their thoughts and opinions, explore ideas, experiment, and try new things without feeling embarrassed. In a strong Circle, adolescents may turn disagreements and disappointments into positive relationships and learning.

Some of the most important things facilitators do to support adolescents in building safe, strong Circles are to plan sessions and activity phases that create structure and routine for adolescents, while also giving them the opportunity to have fun, learn, and take action. Strategies and steps for those important aspects of a facilitator’s role are included in all of the guidance and tools for facilitators on this site.

Learn more about steps that facilitators should take, with support from facilitators, to support strong adolescent circles.

Use these guides and tools for..